CONTROVERSIAL ex-referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz is reportedly set to replace disgraced Luis Rubiales as president of the Spanish Football Federation.
The Spaniard is known for losing control of Argentina's World Cup 2022 quarter-final win over the Netherlands – which left Lionel Messi fuming.
Lahoz, 46, retired in June and is now lined up as one of the favourites to replace Rubiales as Spanish chief.
The Spanish FA are on the hunt for a new figurehead after Rubiales stepped down over his "kissgate" row involving Spain star Jenni Hermoso after they beat England in August's World Cup final.
According to Marca, Lahoz has emerged as a "great favourite" with "great strength" to achieve stability in the Spanish FA.
He has "implicit" support from top La Liga clubs, match officials, FIFA, the Council Superior of Sports and some territorial presidents, the report claims.
READ MORE IN FOOTBALL
Prem hero Davies earns first international call at 38, 15yrs after England nod
Get £30 in free bets when you stake £10 today with Bet UK
And the Spaniard has a close relationship with Pierluigi Collina who is the highly respected chief of FIFA referees.
With this much backing, he’s a strong candidate to succeed in Rubiales' position.
Lahoz's background means he has in-depth knowledge of the game and will have a "privileged starting position" in the election process.
But his takeover as the Spanish FA president will not please everybody.
Most read in Football
Fans think Southgate has unlocked ‘cheat code’ after tweak destroys Italy
A PIZZA CAKE
England book Euro 2024 spot in style as Bellingham runs rings around Italy
ENGLAND 3 ITALY 1
Three Lions book Euro 2024 spot after stunning brace from Harry Kane
BUY OR LEAVE
Ratcliffe ‘plans huge Man Utd transfer revamp after concerns about shock star’
FREE BETS – BEST BETTING OFFERS AND BONUSES NEW CUSTOMERS
Lahoz made the headlines at last year's World Cup in Qatar as he handed out a record-breaking 18 yellow cards and one red card in the quarter-final.
The feisty clash was nicknamed the The Battle of Lusail which saw Argentina scrape the win over the Netherlands 4-3 in penalties.
Lahoz received heavy criticism after the game and Argentina captain Messi even had a word to say about it.
He told TyC Sports: “It’s very frustrating, very frustrating. (The match) didn’t have to end that way.
"I do not want to talk about the referee because you’ll be punished. You cannot be honest.
"You can’t say what you’re thinking. If you do, they’ll sanction you for a match. But I believe the people saw what happened.
“We were scared before the game because we knew what this was.
"I think FIFA must think about it, they cannot put a referee like that for these important games, for such a pivotal game, a referee who isn’t up to the task.”
Source: Read Full Article